Sadness. That is what many Australians are feeling right now, after the terrible end to the Siege in Sydney. Two innocent and brave people lost their lives, as well as the gunman. It has left many shocked and deeply saddened, and I will admit that the images on television of the many floral tributes that are in Martin Place had me moved to tears. The outcome was tragic, but it could have been much worse had it not been for the heroic actions of Tori Johnson. The Lindt Cafe manager risked his life twice to save others, and the second time it ended in tragedy. The other to lose their life was Katrina Dawson; Mother of three and a promising Lawyer with a bright future. She shielded her pregnant friend, and sadly had a heart attack at the moment the police entered the cafe.
This is a trying time for many right across the community. There are fears of reprisals or revenge attacks, though the mood of many is to seek unity and understanding. Tolerance is important. What we have to remember is that there are many in our community that are unbalanced and could do the unthinkable. Take the Port Arthur Massacre. One lone gunman killed 35 people and wounded another 23 in 1996. There was no real reason for the attack, and people were going about their daily lives when it happened. The same happened at the Lindt Cafe. A lone gunman with a history of violence and mental instability took people hostage to get attention. The news stations in conjunction with the Police agreed to block all information going to social media and the news reports, so as not to give into the gunman’s demands.
Religion is not to blame and no one group should be targeted in a backlash. The whole community is grieving what happened, and I truly believe that we as Australians will be united in saying no to extremism. The vile act of one person does not reflect on others, nor should it.
Australia is a multicultural nation, built upon a foundation of freedom and equality. We are a virtual punch bowl of nationalities and religions. It is what makes us who we are. And no one….is going to change that.